Legislature(2023 - 2024)BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)

02/02/2023 03:30 PM Senate STATE AFFAIRS

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03:31:43 PM Start
03:32:33 PM SB12
03:55:35 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Heard & Held
-- Invited & Public Testimony --
Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled
              SB  12-ADDRESS CONFIDENTIALITY PROGRAM                                                                        
3:32:33 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR KAWASAKI announced the consideration  of SENATE BILL NO. 12                                                               
"An Act  relating to confidentiality of  information; relating to                                                               
the  duties  of the  Department  of  Administration; creating  an                                                               
address confidentiality  program; and providing for  an effective                                                               
He stated  the intention  is to  hear the  introduction, invited,                                                               
and   public   testimony  then   hold   the   bill  for   further                                                               
3:33:27 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  JESSE  KIEHL,  District  B,  Alaska  State  Legislature,                                                               
Juneau,  Alaska, sponsor  of SB  12,  introduced the  legislation                                                               
speaking to the following sponsor statement:                                                                                    
     SB  12  creates  an   address  protection  program  for                                                                    
     victims of sexual assault  and domestic violence, peace                                                                    
     officers   and   correctional   officers,   and   their                                                                    
     Alaska is one  of only nine states without  any form of                                                                    
     address  protection  program.  They are  so  widespread                                                                    
     because they  are essential. A person  needs an address                                                                    
     to  vote, drive,  work, send  children  to school,  and                                                                    
     much  more. When  that  address shows  up  in a  public                                                                    
     record,  an Alaskan  seeking safety  from a  stalker or                                                                    
     abuser  faces  unnecessary  danger. So  do  Alaska  law                                                                    
     enforcement   professionals   who   face   threats   of                                                                    
     An address  protection program  gives those  Alaskans a                                                                    
     tool to stay safe.                                                                                                         
     Under SB  12, the  state would keep  a Post  Office Box                                                                    
     and  confidentially forward  mail  to  Alaskans with  a                                                                    
     protective  order,  public  safety  professionals,  and                                                                    
     their families. Victims and  those protecting our state                                                                    
     deserve the chance to live safely.                                                                                         
SENATOR KIEHL shared  the story that prompted the  bill. A former                                                               
colleague who worked in victim  services talked about someone who                                                               
had fled a life-threatening situation  in another state and moved                                                               
to  Anchorage.  The former  victim  got  a  post office  box  and                                                               
registered to  vote. One day  when she  went to the  post office,                                                               
she  spotted her  former abuser  sitting in  his car  outside the                                                               
building. He  emphasized that  nobody should  have to  go through                                                               
that to cast a ballot and  while current law allows an individual                                                               
to  keep  their  home  address  private,  a  mailing  address  is                                                               
required and that is a public record.                                                                                           
SENATOR KIEHL explained that SB  12 creates an address protection                                                               
program  in the  Department  of Administration.  DOA already  has                                                               
some mail services to which this  new program could be added. Any                                                               
peace  officer,  correctional  officer,  or somebody  who  has  a                                                               
protective  order  can register  to  use  the secure  state  post                                                               
office box  and a  state employee  will forward  the individual's                                                               
mail confidentially  and securely. He acknowledged  that this was                                                               
a difficult  time to  consider new state  programs, but  this one                                                               
was  very important.  It's about  protecting  people's lives  and                                                               
their families.                                                                                                                 
3:37:42 PM                                                                                                                    
ELLA ADKISON, Staff, Senator Jesse Kiehl, Alaska State                                                                          
Legislature, Juneau, Alaska, presented the following sectional                                                                  
analysis for SB 12 on behalf of the sponsor:                                                                                    
     Sec. 1:  Adds peace officers and  correctional officers                                                                  
     participating in the address  protection program to the                                                                    
     chapter  of  state  law that  contains  confidentiality                                                                    
     rules for some court records.                                                                                              
     Sec. 2:  Makes home  addresses and telephone  number of                                                                  
     peace  officers and  correctional officers  enrolled in                                                                    
     the  program   confidential  in  court   documents  and                                                                    
     requires  that  they  be redacted  before  releasing  a                                                                    
     document containing them.                                                                                                  
     Sec. 3: Protects the home  address and telephone number                                                                  
     of  peace officers  and correctional  officers enrolled                                                                    
     in  the program  in open  court and  generally prevents                                                                    
     them from  being placed in  court files  unless ordered                                                                    
     by the court.                                                                                                              
     Sec. 4:  Defines "correctional officer" using  the same                                                                  
     language as AS 18.65.290.                                                                                                  
     Sec.  5:   Puts  the  program  in   the  Department  of                                                                  
     Sec. 6: Creates the program.                                                                                             
        (b) requires  a  Post  Office  Box as  a  substitute                                                                    
        mailing address  for  enrollees  and  instructs  the                                                                    
        department  to  forward  mail  to  participants.  It                                                                    
        charges    the     department    with     protecting                                                                    
        confidentiality and  requires regulations  to govern                                                                    
        enrollment and withdrawal.                                                                                              
        (c)  describes   eligible  participants   as  people                                                                    
        sheltered by a  protective order and  their parents,                                                                    
        guardians, children, and household  members. It also                                                                    
        admits peace officers and correctional officers.                                                                        
        (d) requires state and municipal  agencies to accept                                                                    
        the P.O. Box.                                                                                                           
        (e) describes the eligibility period.                                                                                   
        (f) forbids the department from charging a fee.                                                                         
        (g) allows access to  confidential addresses subject                                                                    
        to a search warrant.                                                                                                    
        (h) establishes penalties for unlawfully revealing a                                                                    
        protected individual's address.                                                                                         
        (i) defines certain terms.                                                                                              
        Sec. 7: Establishes a transition period for the                                                                       
        department to adopt regulations to implement the                                                                        
       Sec. 8: Let's the department begin its regulation                                                                      
     process immediately.                                                                                                       
     Sec. 9: Sets an effective date of Jan. 1, 2024 for the                                                                   
     rest of the bill.                                                                                                          
3:39:29 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR CLAMAN  noted that page  4 referenced a  protective order                                                               
under  Title 13.  chapter 26.  He asked  what kind  of protective                                                               
orders fall under Title 13.                                                                                                     
SENATOR KIEHL replied  these are the same  protective orders that                                                               
are  used  for domestic  violence  cases.  The court  legislative                                                               
representative  said this  type of  protective order  was uniform                                                               
SENATOR CLAMAN  summarized his  understanding that  an individual                                                               
registered  in  the  program  would receive  their  mail  at  the                                                               
confidential and  secure state post  office box and  someone from                                                               
the state  would forward  the individual's  mail to  their actual                                                               
SENATOR  KIEHL said  that's the  notion  and the  bill gives  DOA                                                               
significant  flexibility   to  define  how  that   will  work  in                                                               
regulation. The expectation  is that only first  class mail would                                                               
be forwarded.                                                                                                                   
SENATOR  CLAMAN asked  for confirmation  that DOA  currently does                                                               
not have an existing program for forwarding mail.                                                                               
SENATOR KIEHL said that's correct.                                                                                              
SENATOR CLAMAN  observed that in  Section 1, the  current statute                                                               
only protects  victims of and  witnesses to a charged  crime. The                                                               
bill  expands  that  protection   to  include  domestic  violence                                                               
protective orders and other noncriminal matters.                                                                                
SENATOR  KIEHL  said  that's correct  and  only  an  individual's                                                               
personal home address the protected.                                                                                            
SENATOR  CLAMAN  noted  that  individual  addresses  are  readily                                                               
available by looking  at municipal property records.  He asked if                                                               
the law  would impact  what the  Municipality of  Anchorage (MOA)                                                               
does  or  doesn't  do  regarding   addresses  in  their  property                                                               
SENATOR KIEHL said  it won't have an effect because  MOA passed a                                                               
local ordinance that removes the  addresses of victims of violent                                                               
crimes from the  public record. The property  owner who registers                                                               
for  the  proposed  program  would  receive  their  property  tax                                                               
statement from the state post office box.                                                                                       
3:44:17 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  CLAMAN  asked if  this  would  create  a duty  on  local                                                               
SENATOR KIEHL responded that the  bill requires a municipality to                                                               
accept the protected address as  the individual's mailing address                                                               
but as currently written, there  is no duty for municipalities to                                                               
purge their  tax records. An  individual would have to  make that                                                               
request. The individuals who will  use the protective program are                                                               
genuinely in fear for their life  and safety. They may have moved                                                               
to a different  city or state and if the  concern is great enough                                                               
they may  resort to using a  trust to purchase property  so their                                                               
name does not appear in the recorder's office.                                                                                  
3:45:59 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  KAWASAKI asked  if  this  would create  a  duty on  school                                                               
SENATOR KIEHL answered that school  districts will be required to                                                               
accept  the  protected  state  post office  box  as  a  student's                                                               
mailing address.  The bill  applies to  household members  of the                                                               
person  protected  by  a protective  order.  The  language  about                                                               
correctional officers comes from other  areas of the statutes; it                                                               
includes a person  who is employed in  a correctional institution                                                               
in the state.                                                                                                                   
CHAIR KAWASAKI turned to invited testimony.                                                                                     
3:48:00 PM                                                                                                                    
JODY  REAUSAW,  Business   Agent,  Alaska  Correctional  Officers                                                               
Association,  Juneau,  Alaska,   provided  invited  testimony  in                                                               
support of SB  12. She stated that  correctional officers receive                                                               
threats to themselves  and their families fairly  often. She said                                                               
it  is  also worthy  of  note  that  inmates look  for  officers'                                                               
personal  information  for  malicious  reasons,  for  cache,  and                                                               
sometimes  to trade  with  other inmates.  Gaining  access to  an                                                               
officer's  address  can also  be  used  to obtain  more  personal                                                               
information. Correctional officers work  long days in a difficult                                                               
environment,  and they  are  often worried  about  the safety  of                                                               
their families. SB 12 will  provide major relief for officers who                                                               
opt  to participate  in the  program. She  reiterated the  Alaska                                                               
Correctional Officers Association's support for SB 12.                                                                          
3:50:19 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR KAWASAKI opened public testimony on SB 12.                                                                                
3:50:36 PM                                                                                                                    
BRENDA STANFILL,  Executive Director, Alaska Network  on Domestic                                                               
Violence and  Sexual Assault (ANDVSA), Juneau,  Alaska, testified                                                               
in support of  SB 12. She stated  that Alaska is one  of just six                                                               
states that does not have  an address confidentiality program for                                                               
victims of  domestic violence, sexual assault,  and stalking. She                                                               
noted that  she recently learned  from child  support enforcement                                                               
that  if a  noncustodial parent  requests the  custodial parent's                                                               
address,  the division  sends  a  mailer. If  a  response is  not                                                               
forthcoming,  the  address  is released.  She  said  this  speaks                                                               
directly to the need for an address confidentiality program.                                                                    
MS. STANFILL provided some statistics.                                                                                          
   • For the last 10 years Alaska has ranked second for deaths                                                                  
     of women by men.                                                                                                           
 • In 2020 Alaska was number one for deaths of women by men.                                                                    
   • Alaska has more than twice the national average of deaths                                                                  
     of women by men.                                                                                                           
   • Alaska Native women are killed by men at a rate that is                                                                    
     four times the national average.                                                                                           
        • 25 percent of these murders involve a firearm.                                                                        
MS. STANFILL  said there  isn't enough  law enforcement  in rural                                                               
areas  of Alaska  so  there  often is  nobody  to  come to  these                                                               
women's aid. Shelter programs that  could protect these women are                                                               
often not available. For someone  who lives in a rural community,                                                               
transportation can  be an impediment.  She emphasized  that women                                                               
in rural  communities face great challenges  when somebody intent                                                               
on doing harm learns where they live.                                                                                           
MS. STANFILL  reported that stalking  is the most  prevalent form                                                               
of  surveillance  that  abusers  use. Abusers  who  stalk  former                                                               
partners do  so on average for  2.2 years. Stalking is  a way for                                                               
an abuser to continue to  exercise control.  ANDVSA believes that                                                               
an  address  confidentiality  program   would  allow  victims  to                                                               
control  who is  able to  find  out their  location. The  address                                                               
confidentiality program  would ensure that nobody  could find out                                                               
where a  registrant had  moved. Legally  creating such  a program                                                               
would create another  tool ANDVSA could use to  help victims stay                                                               
safe and alive.  She thanked the committee  for its consideration                                                               
of SB 12.                                                                                                                       
SENATOR CLAMAN thanked her for her continued advocacy.                                                                          
3:54:19 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  KAWASAKI closed  public testimony  on SB  12 and  held the                                                               
bill for future consideration.                                                                                                  

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
SB12 ver A 1.25.23.PDF SSTA 2/2/2023 3:30:00 PM
SB 12
SB12 Sponsor Statement 1.25.23.pdf SFIN 3/28/2023 9:00:00 AM
SSTA 2/2/2023 3:30:00 PM
SB 12
SB12 Sectional Analysis ver A 1.31.23.pdf SSTA 2/2/2023 3:30:00 PM
SB 12
SB12 Fiscal Note DOA-SSOA 1.27.23.pdf SSTA 2/2/2023 3:30:00 PM
SB 12
SB12 Supporting Document-Support Letter 1.26.23.pdf SSTA 2/2/2023 3:30:00 PM
SB 12
SB12 Supporting Document-Support Letter 2.20.23.pdf SSTA 2/2/2023 3:30:00 PM
SB 12